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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 23, 2009 4:30pm-5:00pm EDT

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period of time. every time we yield to the united nations, we end up with a real serious problem. i've talked to a number of our troops overseas who are very much concerned about being subjected to the international court. let me make one comment before i yield back any remaining time, and what is on the subject that was discussed by the senator from vermont. you know, it's easy to say and people will applaud when they say you're going to end up getting something for nothing much you're going to get an education for nothing, you're going to get a college education, you're going to get health care for nothing. that sounds real good. somebody has to pay for all of that stuff. and i suggest that if you go up to mayo clinic in north -- in the northern tier of the united states, you will see a very large population of -- of patients from canada that are there. patients who have been told, well, yes, you have breast cancer, but because you're at a
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certain age, we're not able to operate on you. if bedo, it's going to be a -- if we do, it will be a waiting period of some 18 months. at the end of that time the patient is gone anyway. we are talking about in this country we need to do something about it, the way that we've been running our health care system. i think improvements can be made. i remember one time the first lithotriptor was used in my state of oklahoma, st. john's hospital, you could submerge a patient and dissolve what was in them, kidney stones and other things, however, they couldn't use it, they had to invasively cut open people to remove these things that could have otherwise have been dissolved. but the problem is we have in our medicare system a lot of people making medical decisions who are not qualified. we have a lot of improvement that's need to be made. by adopting a system that has
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been a failure every place it has been tried whether it is sweden or great britain or canada is not something that we are prepared to do in this country. i know the effort's out there. they're going to make every effort to see that that happens. we're going to have to make sure it doesn't happen. with that, i yield the floor, mr. president. mr. brown: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i know that most of my colleagues seem to enjoy the government health care plan for -- of which they are a member, and i -- i'm always interested when i hear my colleagues, first of all, almost all of whom are on the government health insurance plan talk about government not providing a decent health care plan. and i'm particularly intrigued when i hear my colleagues say it's a dismal failure anywhere else in the world. and, you know, i'm not proud of this, as i stand on the floor of the united states senate, but i
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know we spend twice what almost any other country does in the world on health care and i also know that in the rankings based on the rankings of various kinds of health care indices, maternal mortality, infant mortality, life expectancy, other kinds -- imization rates, the united states ranks almost last and other places the united states is almost first and that is age 5. if an american gets to age 65, yes, we do have some of the best health care in the world because everybody has the opportunity to join medicare. and 99% of our society's -- 99% plus belong to medicare. so when i hear my colleagues, most of whom are on the government health insurance plan, paid for by taxpayers, say that government can't do health insurance in pointing to other
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countries and saying it's a failure everywhere else, i look at them a little quizicly, mr. president. because when i hear -- when i talk to a canadian, they have to wait too long. that's right. they underfund their system. i don't see canadians repealing their health care law because they're unhappy with it. i don't see the brits or the germans or the japanese or the italians. they spend less than we do, have higher life expectancy, they have lower maternal mortality rate. so maybe we can learn something. now, mr. president, that being said, health care reform that we're working on, and i'm working across the street with chairman dodd and senator coburn and others in both parties writing health care legislation. health care reform first and foremost is about protecting what's working in our system and there's much that works well in our health care system and fixing what's broken in our system. that in a nutshell is what we're
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doing. we're protecting what works in our health care system, we need to fix what's broken. it's about giving americans the health choices and the health care they want. it's about providing economic stability for millions of families in ohio and around the nation and in the presiding officer's state. a huge number of people in our country say i'm pleased with the health insurance i have, it works well, the co-pay may be too high. i argue with insurance companies more than i like to, they're generally happy and we want to protect what's working. an awful lot of families know that they're a pink slip or illness away from losing their health care. they're watching their health care declierntion they're seeing drug coverage scale back, they're seeing dental care and vision care eliminated because their employers can't afford it. again, we have to protect what works and fix what's broken. a part of economic stability for health care is the public health
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insurance option. it's an option, a public health insurance option would expand health insurance choices available to americans, increase competition in the health insurance market. there is hardly an american alive that has private health insurance that doesn't think they've been mistreated from time to time by their insurance company. bringing more competition to the insurance market with a public health insurance option, whether you take it or not, whether you stay in your private health insurance, your choice, or you go into the public health option, again, your choice, you can make that choice. just the existence of both of them will make them both better. it will make the medicare look-alike option better, it will make private insurance better because it's perezo american competition,t's -- presto american competition, it's what works. every time that meaningful health care reform has been debated over the last six decades, we've heard misleading shouts from conservatives, from
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insurance companies from the american medical association, they say government takeover beings they bureaucratic red tape and socialized medicine. we heard it in 1949 when president harry truman in his first -- after his first election -- after his election as president. he had been president for four years before he was elected after succeeding president roosevelt. president truman called for health insurance reform and they called it socialized medicine. we heard in the 1930's when franklin roosevelt when creating social security thought about creating health security at the same time, he backed off because of the opposition of the american medical association because he knew they would say socialized medicine. then they said it a decade and a half later when harry truman was president and another decade and a half later, as you know, mr. president, the doctors, insurance companies, conservatives an many in the
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other -- in the republican party in both houses again said socialized medicine when we were passing medicare. we know medicare's not socialized medicine. you have your choice of doctor, your choice of hospital, your choice of provider. medicare is the payer. that's not socialism. that's just a program that the american people love. so we hear these same kinds of things now. we hear about a public health insurance option, we hear it's socialism, a government takeover, bureaucratic red tape. yet at the kitchen tables of middle-class homes in toledo and dayton and akron and gallipolis and zanesville and my state, they are talking about using a mortgage payment to pay for a sick child ale health care treatment. small companies are talking about cutting jobs because health insurance policies are too high. middle-class americans are talking about how a public health insurance option is needed to provide economic stability for their families. as we develop economic reform we
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can't forget that millions of americans are depending on us -- us in this chamber and our colleagues on the other end of the building are depending on us to do the right thing. we should listen to people like darlene, a school nurse from cleveland. darlene treats students from economically distressed neighborhoods who lack access to healthy food. her students struggle in school because they're worried about a sick parent, a sick grandparent who can't afford health care. darlene wrote to me describing one student that she trys to help has asthma and a heart condition, a grade school student, but doesn't have an inhaler because her parents are unemployed and don't have health insurance. she has asthma attacks and doesn't have an inhaler because her parents can't afford it. we're not going to pass a public health insurance option? at a time when too many americans are strug -- struggling to pay health care costs, a public option will make
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it more affordable. our nation spends $2 trillion -- that's 2 billion. $1 billion -- if you had $1 billion and spent a dollar of every second of every minute of every day it would take you 31 years to spend $1 trillion. we spend on health insurance 2 trillion. think how much that is. yet too many of our citizens are only a hospital visit away from a financial disaster. we can't afford to squander this opportunity for reform. instead we must fight for substantial reforms that will significantly improve our health care system. again, mr. president, remember, though, it's about protecting what works and fixing what's broken. that's why i'm making sure a public health insurance option is available for americans not controlled by the health insurance industry. it must preserve access to employer sponsored coverage for those who want to keep their
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current plan. that's not u.n. giving americans a choice to go with a public or private insurance plan, let them compete with each other. it's good common sense. a public insurance option will make health care affordable for small business owners like chris from summit county. chris writes that his small company is struggling to keep up with health insurance costs for his employees, he's getting priced out of the market. he said that a public insurance option would reduce the cost to his small business an provide employees the health care they need that he so much wants to provide to his employees whom he cares about, whom he knows are productive and help him pay the bills. chris wants me and other members of the senate to push for real change for the health care system that helps small business owners an workers alike. a public health insurance option would also make insurance affordable for americans struggling when live throws them a curve like karen in toledo. karen wrote to me how she now
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takes care of her adult son who is suffering from advanced m.s. over the course of the last five years, her son lost his small business, lost his insurance and diagnosed with progressive m.s. they spent years meeting with specialists, dealing with insurers, fighting for care. all the way karen dropped out of her ph.d. program. her savings were depleted and she had no one else to turn to. we're not going to pass a public health insurance option? the public health insurance option would offer american workers and their families like karen and her son affordable transition insurance if you lose your job and lose your insurance. we can't let the health insurance industry dictate how our health care system works or limit the coverage options that americans deserve. anyone who had to shop for health insurance coverage knows how expensive it can be, even if you're healthy like peter from since gnatcy. he retired after years as an
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architect. after he retired he thought he would have no problem affording private health insurance. but despite never filing a claim, his premiums and his deductibles kept rising him forcing him to buy a second policy. in merely two weeks after total knee replacement surgery, his secondary insurer dropped him and left him with a bill of $27,000. peter asked that we fix what's broken and we're not going to pass a public health insurance option? that's what we're here to do. millions of americans are demanding a public health insurance option that increases choice for all americans and provides economic stability for our nation's middle-class families. the stories of darlene and chris and karen and peter must guide this administration, it must direct this congress to protect and provide health care for all americans. health care reform is about protecting what works and fixing what's broken. mr. president, i yield the floor, and suggest the absence of a quorum.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:


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